It was fitting that Gary Twigg once again proved to be the match winner for Shamrock Rovers in his final home game for the club at the Tallaght Stadium against UCD on Friday night. Twigg scored his 79th and 80th league goals for the club to give them a 2-1 victory against Martin Russell's side.
It was a quiet opening to the game. Both sides had plenty of possession but neither defence was really troubled. The home fans kept themselves entertained though by singing various songs in tribute to Twigg.
They had even more reason to sing his name in the 18th minute when Rovers number 9 gave his side the lead. Billy Dennehy set it up. He raced forward from midfield and played the ball in behind the UCD defence. Twigg rounded Ger Barron and scored.
In the 20th minute Twigg scored his 20th league goal of the season. The goal came after Stephen Rice played a ball in behind the visitors defence. Once again Twigg stole in behind and rounded Barron before putting the ball into the empty net.
However David McMillan pulled one back for UCD just two minute later. McMillan's goal arrived after a pass from Gary Burke on the left. UCD'S number 23 turned and hit it beautifully on the volley over the head of Oscar Jansson and into the net.
After 27 minutes it was almost three for Twigg. The Scottish man headed just wide from an Aaron Greene cross. Twigg was also just a whisker away from completing his hat trick in the 38th minute. This time GaryMcCabe crossed from the left and found the Scottish striker who volleyed just wide.
UCD started the second half impressively. In the 52nd minute they came close to scoring again. Ciaran Nangle found Samir Belhout in space in the penalty area. Belhout had a low shot which was deflected just wide.
After 74 minutes Gary O'Neill came on to replace Gary Twigg. Twigg received a standing ovation from the crowd and a hug from Brian Laws.
However UCD were in no mood to make it easy for the home side and once again they came close to equalizing in the 85th minute. David McMillan saw Oscar Jansson off his line and tried to chip him from about 25 yards out but this time Jansson got back to tip it away for a corner.
Then in the second minute of injury time the away side came close again. The ball broke to Robbie Benson from a free kick. Benson hit a fine shot from the edge of the area and beat Jansson but the ball just shaved the post and went wide.
The home side held on for the win. After the final whistle Twigg acknowledged the home fans who constantly sang his name throughout the night and once again gave him a standing ovation. Twigg of Scotland was also giving a guard of honour by his teammates before leaving the pitch.
Shamrock Rovers: Oscar Jansson: Pat Sullivan, Ken Oman (c), Graham Gartland, Conor Powell; Billy Dennehy, Stephen Rice, Conor McCormack, Gary McCabe, Aaron Greene; Gary Twigg (Gary O'Neill 74).
Subs not used: Reyaad Pieterse, Shane O'Connor, Craig Sives, Thomas Stewart, Sean Gannon, Colin Hawkins.
Booked: Jansson (54), Gartland (71), Dennehy (72), Oman (83).
UCD: Ger Barron; Hugh Douglas (Mark langtry 46), Michael Leahy (c), James Kavanagh, Ciaran Nangle; Chris Mulhall (Barry McCabe 67), Gary Burke, Robbie Benson, Paul O'Conor, Samir Belhout (Chris Lyons 60); David McMillan
Subs not used: Mark McGinley, Daniel Lewdwith, Dean Clarke, Tyrone McNelis.
Booked: Leahy (46), Langtry (80).
Referee: Paul Tuite.
Attendance: 2,500 (estimate).
Extratime.ie man of the match: Gary Twigg (Shamrock Rovers).